- On Capitol Hill
- On Wall Street
- In the Press
- Policy Reform Work
Our projects are designed to empower policy makers to create positive change. With a focus on collaboration and outreach, we provide original, standards-based research on key policy issues.
SCEPA joined with the Economic Policy Institute on Capitol Hill to brief congressional staff and policy experts on tax expenditures, or incentives given through the tax code without scrutiny by Congress.
SCEPA economists are working on the prospects for a more progressive economic order to emerge from the shock of the recession. They have published papers and documents that place current events in a longer-term context as well as policy proposals to deal with short-term concerns. They are also documenting the emerging discussion of how the discipline of economics is reacting to the Great Recession and the questioning of conventional economic analysis.
Lance Taylor, a SCEPA Faculty Fellow, presents an overview of his new book, Maynard’s Revenge, in a Google Tech Talk.
The book, published this November by Harvard University Press, is a timely analysis of mainstream macroeconomics, posing the need for a more useful and realistic economic analysis that can provide a better understanding of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis.
The government spends $143 billion through tax breaks in an effort to expand pension coverage and security. Yet, over half of the American workforce does not have a pension. Retirement insecurity hurts business plans, workers’ lives and retiree well-being. Reform is needed.
SCEPA’s Guaranteeing Retirement Income Project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, has a plan to guarantee safe and secure retirement income for all Americans.
by Jeff Madrick, SCEPA Senior Fellow
June 15, 2012 | Re-Printed from the New America Foundation
The share of wages and salaries in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined in most rich nations over the past 20 to 30 years. Over the same period, income inequality has grown in most of these nations, and rapidly in some of the largest of them, resulting in slow wage growth for most consumers.
The result of wage growth that is persistently slower than the growth of GDP, and a simultaneous shift in distribution towards high-end earners who save more and consume less, has been an inadequate level of aggregate demand needed for rapid, job-creating GDP growth.
Stagnant or, at best, slow-growing standards of living are economic failures in themselves and may well lead to political instability. But they are also harbingers of a more serious crisis. The main theme of this paper is that low-wage policy regimes have resulted in an over-reliance on export-led growth models in nations like Germany and China and debt-led growth policies in countries like the U.S. In export-led economies, there has in turn been pressure to maintain low wages to keep exports price-competitive, especially as newer, even lower-wage economies became integrated into the international system.
On June 6, 2012, Project Syndicate published an article by SCEPA Faculty Fellow Sanjay Reddy, associate professor of Economics at The New School, and Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. In the article, Underwriting the Poor, the authors put forward a proposal to insure the world's most vulnerable populations from unexpected disasters, either natural (droughts) or economic (increased food costs). Described as a "global reinsurance mechanism," the costs of a premium to provide protection against shocks is estimated to be only 0.5% of the GDP of the poor countries concerned, which can be shared between rich and poor countries.
The Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) will publish a paper by SCEPA RA Lauren Schmitz in their 64th Annual Preceedings. The publication is based on Schmitz's presentation of the paper at the organization's annual meeting in January. LERA is a distinguished assocation of labor and employment relations professionals working to share ideas and learn about new developments, issues, and practices in the field.
Schmitz's paper, "How Policymakers and State Pension Funds Can Help Prevent the Coming Retirement Income Crisis," describes an impending crisis in U.S. workers' ability to retire and describes SCEPA's State GRA plan as a solution. Analysis in this paper reveals that 43% of U.S. workers currently ages 25-64 will not have the adequate resources they need to retire with dignity at age 65. SCEPA proposes that state legislatures mitigate this shortfall by giving workers who lack access to a retirement plan through work the opportunity to invest in a professionally managed, portable, individual cash-balance account with the state pension fund. At retirement, workers would have the option of converting their savings into an annuity—a guaranteed stream of income for life—to supplement other benefits